Filling the tank

In the wake of an especially difficult past two weeks, I’ve been upping my self-care practices and allowing myself to take some necessary time and space by pulling back from a few things.

Here are a few of my main go-to’s for self-care when I start getting depleted:

  1.  Sleep & rest. I allow myself to sleep more at night and rest more via naps during the day.
  2. Music. From listening to what I most enjoy to dancing it out in my living room to playing guitar and singing, my day is guided by music, and even moreso when I am physically taxed or emotionally challenged.
  3. Delicious & nutritious food. While I am closely tuned into what I consume and keep up a steady dose of wholesome, nourishing foods, I also allow myself to partake in comfort foods. Life is about balance and I practice to not to be too strict OR too lenient in my food choices when I’m struggling.
  4. Tuning out. When my cup is empty and I’ve worn myself out thinking and talking about a challenge, I practice to notice when it’s time to call a time out. Tuning out to a funny show on Netflix is sometimes in order. Again, life is about cultivating and maintaining balance. And in times of struggle, I practice to give myself some slack – but not too much slack – when it comes to watching TV.
  5. Getting outside. Being outside, whether in wild places such as the woods or simply for a walk around the block, helps restore my energy and refill my mental and emotional tank. Even if it’s a bit of a chore, when I push myself a little bit in order to get outside, I’m always glad I did once I get out there.
  6. Self-expression. On a regular and ongoing basis, my medium for self-expression comes through the art of writing. Even if I’m not feeling terribly inspired to write, I need to keep picking up the pen. If I stop writing when I’m struggling, I’m in trouble.
  7. Knowing when to reach out and who to reach out to. This is key. Reaching out for support is not a sign of weakness or defeat. In fact, asking for support is a sign of strength and resiliency. It’s also important to know who I can trust in to hold space for me and who I can really rely on when the going gets tough.
  8. Keeping my practice going. By practice I am referring to my daily sitting meditation practice and my daily mindfulness practices. If I let my daily morning sit slide off, it will effect my foundation for the rest of the day. Even when it’s hard and I don’t feel like doing it – even when the quality of my sit is poor – I keep on sitting. And I keep investing in: my daily gratitude practice; reciting my meal verse; pausing to take a breath when my home mindfulness bell chimes; smiling practice; cultivating joy; and tuning into my breath, body, and feelings throughout the day.
  9. Taking a break. This takes many forms. When my energy is waning and my internal gas tank is low, I often take a break from reading the news, so that I am not further depleting myself. I often take a break from participating in meetings or events that are taxing and/or have an element of difficulty embedded into them. And I will sometimes take a break from social gatherings or other such gatherings where I might be otherwise energetically dispersed.

These are some of the ways I restore harmony within myself. If you feel called to share what you do to help replenish and restore, I’d really enjoy hearing from you in the comments section below.

4 thoughts on “Filling the tank

  1. I am working on this as well and your comments on writing, and daily meditation jumped out at me. I’ve recently been writing more and it makes a big difference! Note to self…keep writing. My meditation sessions don’t feel as good but I know it’s important to sit regularly and wait it out…

    drink tea, knit, do sudokus, and bath by candlelight

    • There’s nothing in the news that isn’t upsetting; it’s calculated to keep us from Being Here Now. So that’s one thing not to do at all. The world will be better for me not fretting about it’s polarity but instead giving my energy to the universe. I looked in my beehive yesterday and this new colony has made good stores of honey for the winter-this is a great relief. I made paintings for a show at the gallery, but was anxious in the process; now I’m painting some of our walls white as part of a house renovation project. The simplicity feels good. My meditations include you. Namaste, Joan

      • I so appreciate you reading and posting and I’m so very glad we haven’t lost touch, my friend. Ah, simplicity. What a freedom to bask in the simple things and simplicity itself. I was reading Mary Oliver this morning – another self-care practice I do! – and read a poem of hers called Storage, which I enjoyed and reminds me a bit of what you shared:

        Storage by Mary Oliver

        When I moved from one house to another
        there were many things I had no room for.
        What does one do? I rented a storage
        space. And filled it. Years passed.
        Occasionally I went there and looked in,
        but nothing happened, not a single
        twinge of the heart.

        As I grew older the things I cared
        about grew fewer, but were more
        important. So one day I undid the lock
        and called the trash man. He took
        everything.

        I felt like the little donkey when
        his burden is finally lifted. Things!
        Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
        fire! More room in your heart for love,
        for the trees! For the birds who own
        nothing– the reason they can fly.

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